The lack of senior leaders and rank and file members, coupled with intensifying counterinsurgency operations and desertion by members, has led to a crisis in the Communist Party of India (Maoists)
Ushinor Majumdar

September 19, 2013

The gun has now even entered the Maoist red flag

File Photo

Muppalla Laxmana Rao aka Ganapathi, General Seceratary, Communist Party of India (Maoist) confessed to a crisis within the party in a 7000-word letter to party members. The crisis, Ganapathi admits, is not just due the lack of leaders at the top, but also within the party ranks.

The number of members – earlier thought to be between 10,000 to 12,000 – has decreased, though no official figures are available. The ratio of men and women has also changed with women constituting 60% of the cadre. The government attributes the decline of the Maoists to the development projects in tribal areas.

While a huge number of them have surrendered or joined mainstream politics, several have become police informers, joined vigilante groups or formed bands of extortionists in several places. Vigilante groups have ‘surrendering ceremonies’ where Maoists lay down arms and join the groups to help catch their former comrades.

Ganapathi pointed out that only three Central Committee members working outside guerilla zones were free as of now. The rest have been killed or are in custody. When the last party congress, the Ninth or Unity Congress, was held in 2007, the CPI (Maoist) had around 40 central committee members and 14 politburo members. Now, only 20 central committee and seven politburo members are free.

Ganapathi’s letter comes at a time when the Maoists’ morale is already low because of the recent killing of Maoist sub-zonal committee chief Madhav (Gollu Ramullu) in Odisha. In the letter, Ganapathi asked for top Maoist leaders in jail to be freed – either by bailing them out or through prison breaks. He cited the jail break of three Maoists leaders from Chaibasa in January 2011, where slain politburo leader Kishenji‘s